A Brief History Of Call Education Essay

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Computers have been used for language teaching ever since 1960s.This period can be divided into three stages: behaviorist CALL, communicative CALL and integrative CALL. Each stage related to certain pedagogical theory. The reasons for using CALL included : A)Experimental learning B) motivation C)Enhanced student achievement D)Authentic materials for study E)Greater instruction F)Individualization G)Independence from a single source of information H)Global understanding.The barriers That teachers have in using CALL are : A)Financial barriers B)Availability of computer hardware & software C) Technical and theoretical knowledge and D)Acceptance of technology


In recent years , the use of technological aids , especially those related to the computers has increasingly become a common feature of the classroom .There is no doubt that computer-based instruction will occupy a more central role in the second language classroom in the future. However, as we eagerly explore the potential that this new technology has to offer to language learning , we should not lose sight of fact that it is the teacher, not the technology, who determines the quality of the learning that takes place in the classroom (Richards & Rogers, 2002, p.361). Although the capacity of the Internet for educational use has not been fully discovered and the average schools provide limited use of computers . It is obvious that we have a new information age in which the link between technology and TEFL have already been established (Lee, 2000,p.1).

Warschauer & Whittaker (as cited in Richards & Rogers,2002, p. 368) stated that teachers have been using online communication in the language classroom since 1980s. From an investigation of the experiences of dozens of teachers around the world who have used the Internet in language teaching , a few common guidelines emerge that can assist teachers in successfully planning and implementing network-based learning projects. Nowadays, the Internet is gaining more popularity in foreign language teaching and more educators and learners are embracing it .The results can help learners to understand better the role of CALL and to anticipate the barriers of CALL program they may face .

A definition of CALL

Davis (2002) stated that "Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is often perceived somewhat narrowly , as an approach to language teaching and learning is used as an aid to the presentation , reinforcement and assessment of material to be learned , usually including a substantial interactive element. Davis (as cited Levy ,1997 ) defines CALL more succinctly and more broadly as "the search for and study of definition is in line with the view held by the majority of modern CALL practitioners".

A brief history of CALL

CALL's origins can be traced back to the 1960s . Up until the late 1970s CALL projects were defined mainly to universities .In the early 1970s, the arrival of the personal computer ( pc ) brought computing within the range of a wider audience , resulting in a boom in the development of CALL programs and a flurry of publications . Early CALL favored an approach that drew heavily on practices associated with programmed instruction (Davis, 2012) . According to Warschauer & Healey (1998) the history of CALL can be divided into three main stages : " Behaviorist CALL , Communicative CALL and Integrative CALL" . Each stage corresponds to a certain level of technology and pedagogical theories (Lee, 2000 ).

Behaviorist CALL

In the 1960's and 1970's the first form of Computer- Assisted Language Learning featured repetitive language drills, the so called drill-and-practice method . It was based on the behaviorist learning model and as such the computer was viewed as little more than a mechanical tutor that never grew tired (Lee, 2000). Drill and practice courseware is based on the model of computer as tutor (Warschauer , 1996). In other words the computer serves as a vehicle for delivering instructional materials to the students. The rationale behind drill and practice was not totally spurious , which explains in part the fact that CALL drills are still used today . Briefly put that rationale is as follows :

A computer is ideal for carrying out repeated drills, since the machine does not get bored with presenting the same material and since it can provide immediate non-judgmental feedback.

A computer can present such material on an individualize basis , allowing students to proceed at their own pace and freeing up class time for other activities.

Based on these notions Behaviorist CALL was first designed and implemented in the era of the mainframe and the best -known tutorial system, PLATO, ran on its own special hardware including central computers and terminals . The PLATO system included vocabulary drills, brief grammar explanations and drills, and translations tests at various intervals (Warschauer, 1995)

Communicative CALL

The second phase of CALL was based on communicative approach to teaching which became prominent in the 1970s and 80s. proponents of communicative CALL rejected behaviorist approaches at both the theoretical and pedagogical level .One of the main advocates of this approach was John Underwood ,who in 1984 proposed a series of " premises for communicative CALL" (Warschauer,1996) .According to Underwood, communicative CALL :

Focuses more on using forms rather than on the forms themselves.

Teachers grammar implicitly rather than explicitly.

Allows and encourages students to generate original utterances rather than just manipulate prefabricated language .

Does not judge and evaluate everything the students nor reward them with congratulatory messages, lights or bells .

Avoids telling students they are wrong and is flexible to a variety of student responses.

Uses the target language exclusively and creates an environment in which using the target language feels natural , both on and off the screen .

Will never try to do anything that a book can do just as well (Warschauer,1996).

Stevens stated that "All CALL courseware and activities should build on intrinsic motivation and should foster interactivity - both learner- computer and learner- learner" (Warschauer,1996 ).

According to Healey, Johnson (1995) several types of CALL programs were developed and used during this the phase of Communicative CALL. First , there were a variety of programs to provide skill practice ,but in a non-drill format . Examples of these types of programs include courseware for paced reading , text reconstruction and language games .This type of CALL represents an extension of the computer as tutor model (Warschauer,1996)

Taylor suggests that good Tutor software can tailor its performance to cater for a wide range of different learner needs. He identifies a number of issues about using computers as Tutors instead of using human Tutors. The two he focuses on are:

The length of time it takes to program a good computer tutor, due to the amount of detail that you need to include, particularly about the ways in which to respond to different student reactions. You would not need to specify this level of detail to a human tutor because they would improvise as they went.

There is a greater need for individualization when using the computer as a Tutor than when a human is teaching. Humans tend to teach a whole group whereas a computer tutor tends to work with one individual at a time and thus has to tailor its tutoring to each individual.

Taylor identifies some critiques of using computers in the Tutor mode , but argues that no-one would argue that the Tutor mode did not have a significant role to play in education. (Twining , 2002)

According to Healy and Johnson(1995) , the purpose of the CALL activity is not so much to have students discover the right answer, but rather to stimulate student's discussion, writing or critical thinking .Software used for these purposes includes a wide variety of programs which may not have been specifically designed for language learners programs (Warschauer,1996 )

Briefly & Kemble( 1991), Taylor(1980) cited that the third model as the computer as tool and Taylor & Perez (1989) as computer as workhorse . In this role ,the programs do not necessarily provide any language material at all ,but rather empower the learner to use or understand language . Examples of this model include word processors , spelling and grammar checkers ( Warschauer,1996 )

Integrative CALL

Warschauer (1996) stated that the next CALL is based on two important technological developments of the last decade - multimedia computers and Internet. Multimedia technology - exemplified today by the CD-ROM allows a variety of media ( text, graphics, sound, animation and video ) to be accessed on a single machine. It seeks both to integrate the various skills of language learning ( listening , speaking , writing and reading ) and to integrate technology more fully into language teaching (warschauer & Healey, 1998). What makes multimedia even more powerful is that it also entails hypermedia . It provides a number of advantages for language learning . First of all ,a more authentic learning environment is created since listening is combined with seeing , just like in the real world.

Secondly, skills are easily integrated, since the variety of media make it natural to combine reading , writing , speaking and listening in a single activity.

Third, students have great control over their learning , since they can not only go at their own pace but even on their own individual path, going forward and backwards to different parts of the program , honing in on particular aspects and skipping other aspects altogether.

Finally, a major advantage of hypermedia is that it facilitates a principle focus on the content , without sacrificing a secondary focus on language form or learning strategies.

To this end the multimedia- networked computer provides a range of informational , communicative and publishing tools that are potentially available to every student.( Warschauer , 1996)

Why use CALL?

Lee(2000) stated that" Research and practice suggest that appropriately implemented, network-based technology can contribute significantly to" :

Experiential learning

According to Lee (2000) the Internet provides students to gain a huge amount of human experience. Students have the chance to learn things by doing themselves. They get the ability of creating knowledge , not just the receiving it. Because the information is presented in many ways , users may choose whatever they want to explore (Arif Bulut , 2005).


Computers are most popular among students either because they are associated with fun and games or because they are considered to be fashionable . Students' motivation is increased especially whenever a variety of activities are offered, which make them feel more independent.(Lee,2000)

Enhanced student achievement

Arif Bulu (2005) stated that " Computer - based instruction may be helpful for students to strengthen their linguistic skills by affecting their learning attitude positively and by making them build self - instruction strategies and increase their self - confidence" (Lee, 2000,Skinner& Austin ,1998).

Authentic materials for study

"Computers and the Internet give students the chance of using authentic reading materials at school or at home" (Arif Bulut, 2005). Lee (2000) stated that "those materials can accessed 24 hours a day and have a very low cost" .

Greater interaction

Arif Bulut (2005) says that "random access to Web pages break the linear flow of instruction" (Lee ,2000). EFL students can chat with people they have never met by sending E-mail and joining chat-rooms . Furthermore activities presented on Internet gives the students positive and negative feedback by automatically correcting their correcting their on-line exercises (Lee,2000).


Bulut (2005) cited that" Shy students can benefit from individualized and student -centered collaborative learning. It can also be realized student's full potential without preventing their peers from working at their own pace" ( Hanson ,1995).

Independence from a single source of Information

According to Lee (2000) although students can still use their books but lots of them do not have any other source of information to use. On Internet they can discover thousands of Information sources and get different points of view about the subjects they study .So Internet provides them to learn in a multicultural world ( Bulut, 2005).

Global understanding

Bulut (2005) cited that" all foreign languages should be studied in their own cultural contexts". In a world where the use of Internet becomes more and more widespread , an English teacher should facilitate the student's access to the Web and make them feel as citizens of a global classroom ( Lee, 2000 )

What can we do with CALL?

There is a wide range of on-line applications on the Internet which include dictionaries , encyclopedias , links for teachers , chat-rooms, pronunciation tutors, grammar and vocabulary quizzes, games and puzzles. The Web is like a virtual library that can be accessed by any users around the world.( Lee, 2000,p.3)

Bulut (as cited in Lee ,2000) stated that something that most of the students would enjoy is to communicate with electronic pen friends. Teachers should help their students in this process . Even two EFL classes from different countries can arrange to send E-mail regularly to one another .This can be done quite easily thanks to the Web sites providing lists of students looking for communication .It is also possible for two or more students to join a chat-room and talk on-line through E-mail.

According to Lee (2000 ) the uses of computers for language learning have been reshaped by the Internet Students have to learn how to deal with large amount of information . Lee ( as cited in Dole ,et al., 1991) stated that "at the same time, the role of the teacher has changed as well. Teachers are not the only source of information any more , but act as facilitators so that students can actively interpret and organize the information they are given , fitting it into prior knowledge" .

According to Lee ( as cited in Brown ,1991) Students have become active participants in learning and are encouraged to be explorers and creators of language rather than passive recipients of it .

Lee(2000) stated that "Integrative CALL stresses these issues and additionally lots learners of a language communicate inexpensively with other learners or native speakers".

Teachers' barriers to the use of computer- assisted language learning

According to Lee(2000 ) "the barriers inhibiting the practice of computer-assisted language learning can be classified in the following common categories":

Financial barriers

Availability of computer hardware and software

Technical and theoretical knowledge

Acceptance of technology

Financial Barriers

Lee stated that "financial barriers are mentioned most frequently in the literature by language education practitioners . They include the cost of hardware , software, maintenance ( particular of the most advanced equipment), and extend to some staff development ". He (as cited in Froke,1994) said " Concerning the money , the challenge was unique because of the nature of the technology".

Exiting universals policies and procedures for budgeting and accounting were well advanced for classroom instruction. Though the initial investment in hardware is high , inhibiting institutions' introduction of advance technologies; but recommends that the cost of computers will be so low that they will be available in most schools and homes in future .(Lee,2000 )

Lee (as cited in Lewis et al.,1994) stated that Computer assisted language learning costs the same as conventional instruction but ends up with producing higher achievement in the same amount of instructional time, it results in students achieving the same level but in less time . They indicate that in examples where costs of using technologies in education are calculated , they are usually understand because the value of factors such as faculty time and cost of equipment utilization is ignored .

Lee (as cited in Herschbach , 1994) argued firmly that new technologies are add-on expenses and will not in many cases lower the cost of providing educational services. He stated that the new technologies probably will not replace the teachers, but will supplement their efforts as has been the pattern with other technologies.

The technologies will not decrease educational costs or increase teacher productivity as currently used. The number of learners or the amount of time that learners apply the technology must be increased substantially to approach the concept of cost-effectiveness. There are other more quick and less expensive ways of reducing costs no matter how inexpensive the technology being used.

Availability of computer Hardware and Software

Lee (as cited in Herschbach,1994 ; Miller, 1997, Noreburg & Lundblad,1997) said that" the most significant aspects of computer are hardware and software.

Availability of high quality software is the most pressing challenge in applying the new technologies in education (Underlying this problem is a lack of what elements in software will promote different kinds of learning" . He ( cited as McClelland,1996) stated that there are few educators skilled in designing it because software development is costly and time-consuming .

Having sufficient hardware in locations where learners have access to it problematic and is ,of course , partly a financial problem. Computer hardware and software compatibility goes on to be a significant problem. Choosing hardware is difficult because of the many choices of systems to be used in delivering education , the delivery of equipment, and the rapid changes in technology.

Technical and Theoretical Knowledge

Lee (as cited in C.Dede1995) stated that a technical and theoretical knowledge is another barrier to the use of KALL.

Not only is there a shortage of knowledge about developing software to promote learning , as shown above, but many instructors do not understand how to use the new technologies. Furthermore , little is known about integrating these new means of learning into an overall plan indicated that the more powerful technologies , such as artificial intelligence in computers , might promote learning of higher - order cognitive skills that are difficult to access with evaluate procedures and therefore the resulting pedagogical gains may be under-valued (.

Acceptance of technology

Lee (as cited in Gelatt ,1995) stated that "we live in a time change, changes itself has changed". Lee (as cited in Lee Murphy &Terry ,1998a) indicated" the current of change move so quickly that they destroy what was considered the norm in the past ,and by doing so, create new opportunities". Lee (as cited in Zuber-Skerritt,1994) stated that" wrong conceptions about the use of technology limit innovation and threaten teacher's job and security".


Nowadays , the role of computers in language teaching has increased. Technological and pedagogical improvements allow us to use computer technology in the classroom and language learning process. Although computers will never substitute teachers but they can help teachers for better language teaching. English teachers may have barriers in using CALL (as mentioned above)

Engaging in computer -assisted language learning is a continuing challenge. Many teachers does not have enough theoretical and practical knowledge about computers .They prefer to teach in traditional method because they need to spend much time to learn many new things about computers. Another barrier is that they won't be able to find hardware and software for CALL. If they find them it is probably hard and very expensive to afford . The generation of motivation and encouragement of students are the next barrier for English teachers in the use of CALL. It may be very hard for teachers to aware the students that computer is not just a means of playing games or chatting with their friends but it can be used for language learning as well.

Consequently, it is seen that teachers confront with a lot of barriers to the use of CALL in classes.